Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Archie Bunker: Freemason Or Not?

Archie Bunker

"Everyone I like stays the hell away from me."

~Archie Bunker
All in the Family

There's few Americans that don't know this guy--Archie Bunker.  One of the most memorable, and lovable, bigots in television history, and portrayed by the great Carrol O'Connor.  For twelve years, Archie Bunker entertained Americans with his unique view of life, and sarcastic wit on All In The Family, and later, Archie's Place

It has long be rumored that Carrol O'Connor was a Freemason, because Archie Bunker wore a Mason ring on his middle finger on All In The Family.  The problem is, that's not a Mason ring.  That's a wedding ring!  Wearing a wedding ring on the middle finger is an Irish tradition--and there is no question that Carrol O'Connor was Irish.  That's an Irish tradition that Carrol O'Connor carried over into the character of Archie Bunker. 

Carrol O'Connor as Sheriff Bill Gillespie
His other popular role on television was Bill Gillespie, the Southern sheriff on the show In the Heat of the Night.  Same rumor, Carrol O'Connor is a Freemason, because he wears a Mason ring on that show.  And that is a little closer to the accurate.  In that show, Carol O'Connor did wear a Masonic ring--a traditional square and compass lodge ring with a red stone.  There are a few very clear photos of him wearing that ring as he portrayed Sheriff Gillespie.  But he was asked about that ring one time, and he said simply he wore the ring as a prop, because he believed many Southern sheriffs were Freemasons.

So was Carrol O'Connor a Freemason?  His character Sheriff Bill Gillespie was, but the actor was not. 


Todd E. Creason, 33° was the original Midnight Freemason. He's the author of several books and novels, including his popular Famous American Freemasons series.  In 2012, Todd expanded his popular blog The Midnight Freemason into a collaborative effort Midnight Freemasons. Todd is the Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and a member of both the Scottish Rite, and York Rite. He's also a member of the Ansar Shrine (IL) and Charter President of the Illini High Twelve No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana (IL).  He is also the author of the blog From Labor To Refreshment . . .


  1. why then did he wear rings on both middle fingers of both hands??

    1. Wearing rings on both middle fingers isn't a Masonic tradition that I know of. From what I've seen, Carrol O'Connor didn't wear rings on both middle fingers, just one, and as my piece said, it was part of the Archie Bunker costume. Without question Carrol O'Connor was not a Mason, but we were to think that the fictional character he played, Bill Gillespie, was.

  2. Replies
    1. If you read the article I explained that very thoroughly and why. Carol O'Connor was not a Freemason however.

  3. Wrong. Im watching the show right now. Rings on both moddle fingers

    1. Wrong about what exactly? The article addresses why he wore those rings on both of the television shows.

    2. Unknown is correct,,

  4. Archie Bunker wore a ring on both middle fingers in early episodes of All In the Family,if you are going to write about something,at least be accurate and not tell readers they are wrtong,when they in fact,are correct.

  5. Are we arguing over whether Archie wore one ring or two? Well if he did wear two then I stand corrected. We are talking about a fictional character you realize. And the question was whether a fictional character was a fictional Mason or not. As I said before that tradition is Irish, not Masonic. Archie Bunker wasn’t intended to be presented as a Mason. Bill Gillespie was. That comes from the actor himself, and he wasn’t a Mason.


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